Friday, March 14, 2014

A LETTER ON DECONVERSION-- Jersey Flight

Dear P_,

I have read your letter and am touched by your courage and struggle. You are not alone in your struggle (this is the first stage of deconversion, so to speak).

I was quite upset when I realized that Christianity had filled me with lies; that I had been "conditioned" to believe that the refutation of Christianity also meant a total loss of meaning in the context of life. What liberation to know this is not true! People felt alive long before Christianity and people feel alive long after Christianity. Meaning is not contingent on Christianity. We know this is true because when we examine meaning we find it actually has root in the physical world. All the things that give us a sense of meaning have to do with our circumstances; with our relationships; with life's diverse yet simple pleasures. To be a Christian is to believe a certain thing, but if belief is the source of meaning, this says nothing about the reality of the thing believed. Even the most committed Christian does not derive his sense of meaning from the basis of Christianity. To claim he does is to be ignorant of one's existence. Examine life and you will find that meaning arises from all the little things. This is even true for the most committed Christian; just because he says his sense of meaning derives from his knowledge of a tri-personal-God, or a mono-personal-theism, does not in fact, mean that what he says is true. The man of God is just like the rest of us, and as such, his sense of meaning originates from the same physical sources. He is merely lying to himself about the nature of existence when he says there is some kind of phantom at the heart of his meaning. Such a man is confused about his own experience; he is existentially dishonest. 


If Christianity is the source of feeling good, when it comes to the motions of life, then why is it powerless against the biological menace of depression (not to mention several other things)? Is it coherent to hear a Christian recommending anti-depressants on top of Christianity (if Christianity is indeed the source of meaning)? Does this in fact, make any sense, given the supernatural premise of Christianity itself? If Christianity is the source of meaning (and it is powerless against the existential struggle of life) then what does it really matter if it is formally called the source of meaning? Can this formalism deliver the practitioner from the agony of his suffering?

I have seen several people come out of Christianity (and this is the good news): every single one them says it was the most important thing that ever happened to them! In other words, the despair goes away (the despair which was itself a symptom of Christianity) and you realize you can be whatever kind of person you want to be... you are not condemned by an archaic God. All your life is suddenly open and before you!


I think the big thing that did it for me (even after I had realized the rational collapse of this propped-up irrational system)... there was still a psychological element which tried to hang on, to hold me in its grip. I kept saying to myself; 'I know this must be true because I've had a personal experience with God... I know God, he must be real, I can feel that He's real!' But then I questioned this feeling: 'and all of those religious people who have gone to death for the sake of their belief, tried by fire, purified by pain, did they have any less feeling that their belief was true?'

The answer flooded my mind--- NO, THEY HAD MORE!

And yet I knew that this psychological conviction did not make their belief true!

And with this my dear friend, I had finally escaped the last grip of religion; psychological conviction.

Let me know what I can do to help. This is not an easy thing, and this is not an easy place to be.

Some people have said they find my lecture on The Essence of Christianity to be helpful: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gETOkThQsVc

Respectfully yours,
Jersey Flight